No two materials are created equal—there’s a reason why your blanket is made out of soft polyester, for example, while the while the skin of your tent is made out of water resistant canvas.
Such is the case with the fabrics used in our products. No two types are made to be used for the same job. While one isn’t better or worse, using a fabric with the wrong specifications will be detrimental to the lifespan of your project as well as its purpose.
As its name implies, waterproof fabric does not allow water to pass through it. Instead, water is repelled from the surface of the fabric either by coatings or by the material of which the fabric is made. This allows water to roll off of the fabric, keeping whatever is under the fabric dry, but this impregnability also prevents water that is under the cover from evaporating.
Waterproof fabric is useful for any situation where cost is a factor and airflow is not a concern, as well as situations where the slick surface of the waterproof fabric allows snow to slide off more readily, such as our SnoCaps Trailer Enclosures or winter storage covers. Dock house tarps and boat lift canopies often use waterproof fabric because they are open, so air flow is not a concern. Commercial awnings, for the sake of protecting both shopfronts and customers, are sometimes waterproof, as well.
If waterproof fabric is so useful, you may be asking, then why not use it for everything? The answer is simple: breathability. Waterproof fabric doesn’t breathe, which can be an issue in situations where the object being protected is completely enclosed. This is due to condensation that develops from the water vapor in the air. Which leads to mold and mildew development. It also tends to keep things underneath it warmer than breathable fabric does since breathable fabrics allow both water vapor and heat to escape. In situations where both heat and water vapor is a concern due to lack of breathability or other means of airflow, you’ll need to be very choosy when it comes to your fabric.
At Canvasworks we use quality, name brand breathable fabrics that provide a high degree of water repellency, like Sunbrella and Top Notch. Unlike waterproof fabric, breathable fabric allows for great ventilation while still providing a high degree of protection with their water repellent properties, which is paramount in hot, humid conditions or in situations where you are fully enclosing something such as a boat. Breathability is extremely important when covering a boat as it allows the condensation that naturally occurs under any boat cover as the air cools overnight to escape as the sun’s rays warm the interior of the boat. Trapping this condensation under a waterproof cover will lead to mold and mildew development.
Recently Duane, checked the underside of the boat covers in our parking lot and every single cover had condensation on the underside. Once the sun came up and heated up the interior of the boats, the ones with breathable fabric were nice and dry once again.
Still have Fabric Questions? Contact Canvasworks Today
Since 1979, we’ve prided ourselves on making the best custom fabric products on the market. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today at 320-559-0165.